The present year marks the 100th anniversary of one of the most important events for those who have diabetes. In 1921, a life-sustaining liquid, insulin, that would help millions deal with diabetes in their daily life was discovered.
The pioneers of this discovery were Dr Frederick Banting and Charles Best and it was subsequently purified by James B. Collip.
It can be called one of the most defining discoveries in the early 20th century as prior to this people suffering from type 1 diabetes(T1D) could not survive for more than a year or two.
By 1920, scientists all over the world had identified the cause of diabetes. A cluster of cells present in the pancreas called islets that produced insulin was destroyed in T1D patients. Frederick Banting, a Canadian surgeon, wanted to extract insulin without causing any damage to the pancreas. However, the experiment was not easy to conduct.
Discovery Of Insulin- When Experts Came Together
Briefly after this, he visited a professor, Macleod, at the University of Toronto to work out a plan to conduct this experiment. His student, Charles Best was to assist him in this experiment. In 1921, they performed it on a dog's pancreas, and once the insulin was extracted, it was given to those dogs who had any pancreatic issue.
A biochemist, James B.Collip, joined them to work on purifying insulin so it would be safe enough for humans. Finally, it was used on a 14-year-old boy without any side effects and it became a game-changer for many patients worldwide. In 1922, Eli Lily became the first manufacturer of insulin on a large scale.
For this discovery, Banting and Macleod were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1923
November is also celebrated as Diabetes Awareness Month to bring attention and create awareness about the condition. This year, the main focus is on prediabetes and preventing diabetes. Along with diet, lifestyle changes and correct dose of insulin (as advised by doctors), diabetes can be managed properly.